Big box retailer Golfsmith filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy today, and the financial media wasted no time in blaming the state of the sport instead of the retailers or the club manufacturers who caused the failure.
For example, from Lauren Coleman-Lochner at Bloomberg Markets:
Golfsmith International, the retailer of golf clothing and equipment, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware as the sport loses popularity in North America.
The company, which merged with Canada’s Golf Town in 2012 to become what it called the largest specialty golf retailer in the world, is owned by OMERS Private Equity Inc., part of the Ontario municipal employees’ pension fund.
The golf industry hasn’t recovered the popularity it enjoyed at the turn of the century, when Tiger Woods dominated the sport and attracted hordes of new fans. Millennials in particular haven’t embraced golf’s slow pace and hours-long time commitment. The number of U.S. players declined to 24.1 million last year from 25.7 million in 2011, according to the National Golf Foundation.
Here’s another idea on the ‘why’: if big box retailers carrying inventory worth multiple millions of dollars at each location hadn’t expanded to multiple stores in many cities that could never support it — and if the club manufacturers hadn’t pushed those retailers into making multiple new product introductions every six weeks — then maybe those big box golf retailers wouldn’t be looking for bankruptcy protection now.
Perhaps a better business model would be far smaller golf stores with far less carried inventory offering primarily custom-fit golf clubs and related products…
Read a more balanced story on the Golfsmith bankruptcy filing by Golfweek here.